Public libraries offering relief from record heat

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TACOMA, Wash. -- Record-breaking temperatures are back on the horizon, but there are some ways you can stifle the sun’s rays.

The Tacoma Public Library, Kobetich Branch location is just one of several public libraries across Pierce, King and Snohomish Counties that open their doors to offer some solace from the sweltering heat. One man enjoying the library today says the escape is only part of the reason he comes.

“Remember dad, there’s a fan in the closet on the floor there in case you need it…for the room, of course, I’m not gonna be there.”

That is because Daniel Kane will be at the cooling center.

“I get to be cool, and I get to do stuff.”

And he’s from California, so he can handle the heat, but he doesn’t have to.

"I’ve been going to all the libraries the years that I’ve been here, and of course I love it... the temperature is all, it’s always great."

Kane moved in with his son and daughter-in-law and it’s just a quick ride down to the public library.

“I usually wear an overshirt, because the weather—riding home, the route back was a little brisk… in fact, I even have a pair of gloves, because sometimes it gets frosty.”

While it is probably safe to put the gloves away for now, there are some things officials with the Tacoma-Pierce County Department of health say you should and shouldn’t be doing in the record-breaking heat:

  • Spend more time in air-conditioned places—these public cooling stations are a great and free option.
  • Cover windows that get morning or afternoon sun.
  • Dress in lightweight clothing.
  • Drink plenty of water, and don’t just wait until you’re thirsty to drink it.
  • Check on your elderly neighbors and relatives.
  • And remember, bring life-jackets if you are planning to cool off in a river or lake.

So no, those gloves won’t be gracing Daniel’s hands anytime soon. He does, however, accept the hand extended to him at the Kobetich library.

"I have literally been brought to tears by the efforts of people at the library… It shows a lot about how much they care about people, you know?"

Andy Bartels is a library associate at the branch.

"It's an honor to be part of these people’s lives."

And it's that caring that has them opening their doors, rain or shine, to people, no matter their circumstances.

Bartels explains why it is important to offer a cooling station at the Kobetich branch.

"Libraries are all about freedom, we are used to living here when it's not like this, it is just another way to let people live here freely and get out of the heat."

Kane is grateful.

"I can’t envision a system that’s, you know, better equipped of taking care of people who have a need and just walk into something like this, I just don’t see it."

The Kobetich branch opens back up Wednesday morning at 10, hours vary based on the day.

For more cooling stations:

Tacoma: Tacoma Libraries: Cool Off

Pierce County: PierceCo Public Libraries: Cool Off

Snohomish County: SnoCo Cooling Stations

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